Alfredo Angulo indeed proved to be the ideal opponent in Saul “Canelo” Alvarez’s first bout of a new career path.
Alvarez needed to overcome his first professional loss with a dominant performance. The native of Mexico and his handlers also wanted an opponent willing to exchange but without the boxing skills or arsenal to change a fight’s tide.
Late Saturday, Alvarez found the suitable option. In his first bout since losing a decision against Floyd Mayweather Jr. last September, Alvarez scored a 10th-round technical knockout victory over Angulo in Las Vegas.
“I dominated the entire fight,” Alvarez said. “I stood there to counter punch with him in his range, where he wanted. I was willing to go toe-to-toe with him.”
Alvarez (41-1-1, 31 KOs) repeatedly connected on a charging Angulo with jabs, straight rights, left hooks and uppercuts. However, Alvarez’s punching accuracy failed to deter Angulo, who remained aggressive and also connected with rights to the head.
Despite Angulo’s repeated pressure, Alvarez widened his lead on the scorecards with each round and caused swelling around Angulo’s eyes.
Early in the 10th, Alvarez landed a left uppercut that stopped Angulo in his tracks. Aware that a bruised Angulo (22-4) had absorbed sufficient punches, referee Tony Weeks stepped in between the fighters. Weeks didn’t allow another shot and stopped the bout at 47 seconds of the round.
The reaction brought immediate jeers from the crowd at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Angulo and his trainer, Virgil Hunter, protested Weeks’ decision.
“I’m frustrated; they should have let it go to the end,” said Angulo, who sustained his second consecutive TKO loss. “I’m fine. The referee was wrong this time.”
The disputed ending immediately overshadowed Alvarez’s convincing performance. When the fight was stopped, Alvarez was ahead 88-83 on two scorecards and 89-82 on the third.
“I respect the people’s reactions, but I was fighting,” Alvarez said. “The referee is the law in the ring. What can you do? I could have fought another 10 rounds.”
Around the ring
• Although Danny Garcia was recognized as the world champion by two sanctioning bodies before his fight with Lucas Matthyssee last September, his victory against the dangerous knockout puncher moved him to elite status.
Garcia (27-0, 16 KOs) will make his first ring appearance since his win over Matthysse on Saturday night. The native of Philadelphia will defend his twin super-lightweight belts against Mauricio Herrera in Puerto Rico.
• Carmen Zabala, who assisted her husband, Felix “Tuto” Zabala, during his tenure as South Florida’s busiest and most successful promoter in the 1980s and ’90s, died Thursday after a lengthy illness. She was 76.
“Promoters’ wives deserve tremendous credit because of all the work they do behind the scenes, not only when it comes to boxing but in taking care of many family responsibilities,” said Zabala’s son, Felix Jr., who followed his father into the profession and is now a promoter. “My mother defined that type of wife and mother.”
In addition to her son, Zabala is survived by her husband, daughters Betty and Susana, nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Services were held.
• Telemundo will begin its 25th season of televising live boxing on Friday night. The telecast will feature a regional super-bantamweight title fight between Jonathan Oquendo and Guillermo Avila from Kissimmee.
This year’s telecasts again will feature a seasonal format of four consecutive Friday night shows in the spring, summer and fall seasons.
Rene Giraldo, who has been with the broadcast team since the program’s first year, will describe the blow-by-blow action, and Jessi Losada will be the analyst.